Tag Archives: Federal Government

Truths and Myths of Obamacare

The Obamacare debate has always been rife with myths, from the infamous “death panels” to the armed IRS agents that would arrest those who don’t buy insurance (really, this was an actual myth).

But as the Affordable Care Act turns five, it appears one myth reigns above them all: the idea that the health-care law has gotten increasingly expensive over time.

A Vox poll conducted by communications firm PerryUndem shows that 42 percent of Americans think Obamacare has cost “more than expected.” Only 5 percent got the right answer: that the Affordable Care Act has actually come in under budget, costing “less than what was estimated.”

Yes, it’s really true: Obamacare has come in under budget. Twice in the past year, the Congressional Budget Office has revised downward projected spending on the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the federal government is expected to spend less on health care now than it predicted in early 2010 — and those predictions didn’t include any spending from Obamacare!

That isn’t just about Obamacare — projections on what we’ll spend on Medicare and Medicaid, the two other big federal health-care programs, went down, too. But it is pretty remarkable that health-care spending is now expected to be lower than projections made before Congress passed a massive health insurance expansion.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

More Insurance Plans Sold Through Private Exchange

Employers are moving more quickly than forecasted to offer health insurance to their workers through private exchanges, according to new data from Accenture, a consulting firm.

Three million people signed up for workplace health coverage for this year through private exchanges, Accenture said. That’s roughly three times the number of people the firm had estimated last fall would enroll for coverage through the private exchanges — online systems that are separate from the state and federal health insurance marketplaces.

The growth was driven largely by smaller and midsize companies — those with no more than 1,000 employees, said Rich Birhanzel, who leads Accenture’s health administration services. Beginning last fall, significant numbers of employers offered coverage through private exchanges for the first time, and the firm had predicted that about one million would enroll. “What we’re seeing is that adoption is happening faster than we anticipated,” he said.

Accenture estimates that total enrollment in private exchanges by active employees will reach about 40 million by 2018, surpassing the number of people enrolling through state and federally funded exchanges. (Currently, the federal government says eight million people have signed up for health insurance through the public exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act).

Private exchanges are similar to the public marketplaces, but are offered by employers to their employees. Consulting companies, including Aon Hewitt, Mercer, Towers Watson and Buck Consultants, operate private exchanges, and some insurers also offer their own versions. Walgreen and Sears, for instance, participate in Aon Hewitt’s offering, known as the Corporate Health Exchange.

Some employers are shifting employees to the exchanges to control costs and reduce administrative burdens, and to give workers more plans to choose from. (The idea is that offering plans from multiple insurers will help lower costs through competition.) While details of the exchanges vary, companies typically allocate a specific amount for employees to spend on health insurance, and then workers choose from a menu of options.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary